When I was selected as executive director of United Way of Wayne & Holmes at the tale end of 2018, I went through a strategic exercise and created core values for the organization. Like most core values, they are meant to be the internal guide for staff and board. Envisioning what our community needs and how we want to serve, we developed the following core values:

Strategic, Thankful, Accountable, Resilient and Sincere. Since I absolutely love acronyms, it just so happens to mean - we are S.T.A.R.S.

Now, in the midst of COVID-19, I am so glad that Resilient was a core value selected to represent this organization and this team. The dictionary definition of resilient: the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Our core value definition of resilient: We adapt well to change. We are flexible in our ways. We allow teachable moments and don't let circumstances define us.

Our core values define us and guide the direction of the organization and the people within. When we were approached to become part of the Joint Information Center for Wayne County during the COVID-19 crisis, there was no hesitation. We have to be able to flex our attention and energy when the community is faced with an emergency. As the leader, it was also easy to explain this decision to my team because I already expect them to be resilient.

Our role in the Joint Information Center, is that of the hotline. Community members are encouraged to call our hotline rather than the health department or emergency management agency. We are fielding hundreds of calls weekly and adapting to the needs and situation.

Resiliency isn't easy. I have asked my team to step up and help others who are frightened, confused and uneasy. None of us expected the emotional toll that we are all feeling. However, we will get through this; we are all in this together. We will have to lean on our other core values to help see us through the unknown. We have to be strategic in our choices and plans for the future. We must be thankful to everyone who is working hard to get us through. We are accountable for our time spent and the dollars spent - as we raise funds to help those severely affected by this pandemic. We are sincere in our responses to the community.

I am so thankful that we have a compass of core values to guide us through uncharted waters. If you would like assistance in creating core values for you or your organization, please feel free to reach out, I can walk you through the process.

Katie Koglman Staff

About Katie Koglman

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